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Preparation and Physicochemical Characteristics of Luminescent Apatite-Based Colloids

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journal contribution
posted on 25.02.2010, 00:00 by Ahmed Al-Kattan, Pascal Dufour, Jeannette Dexpert-Ghys, Christophe Drouet
Luminescent colloidal nanosystems based on europium-doped biomimetic apatite were prepared and investigated. The colloids were synthesized by soft chemistry in the presence of a phospholipid moiety, 2-aminoethylphosphoric acid (AEP), with varying europium doping rates. Physicochemical features, including compositional, structural, morphological, and luminescence properties, were examined. Experimental evidence showed that suspensions prepared from an initial Eu/(Eu + Ca) molar ratio up to 2% consisted of single-phased biomimetic apatite nanocrystals covered with AEP molecules. The mean particle size was found to depend closely on the AEP content, enabling the production of apatite colloids with a controlled size down to ca. 30 nm. The colloids showed luminescence properties typical of europium-doped systems with narrow emission bands and long luminescence lifetimes of the order to the millisecond, and the data suggested the location of Eu3+ ions in a common crystallographic environment for all the colloids. These systems, stable over time and capable of being excited in close-to-visible or visible light domains, may raise interest in the future in the field of medical imaging.